- Ela Senghera
Men & Mental Health - What Can We Do better?
Mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of their gender. However, research suggests that men may be more likely to experience certain mental health conditions due to societal expectations and cultural norms. Men may be more prone to mental health problems because they are frequently under pressure to uphold traditional roles and masculine stereotypes. Respecting these traditional roles also makes hard for men to ask for help or display vulnerability.
While men may be more susceptible to some mental health issues, this does not mean that they are more prone to having poor mental health. Like everyone else however, men can benefit from getting help, and they should be encouraged to do so without feeling judged or stigmatised. This is especially important because men like to be perceives as strong and self-reliant, not weak and volnureble.
Undeniably men play pivotal role in our society. Their role is fundamental in being strong role models for our children, and the rock of our families. Yet mental health among men has never been as bad as now. The soaring suicide rates call for a change. So what can be done to help men improve their mental health? What role can we all play in ending mental health stigma and preventing suicide?
Here are 5 steps you can take today:
1. Encourage help-seeking behaviour It is important to create an environment where men feel comfortable seeking help. This can involve opently talking about feelings and emotions at home and in communities, promoting the benefits of therapy or counselling, and providing better education about mental health conditions.
2. Promote healthy behaviours Encouraging healthy behaviours, such as meditation, exercise, healthy eating and getting enough sleep, can help to improve mental health in men.
Mindfulness Meditation has been proven to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing and encourages us to pay close attention to their thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, as well as the present moment.
Exercise is an effective way to reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance mental wellbeing. Regular physical activity can help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, improve sleep quality and boost overall mental health.
Eating Healthy, well balanced and nutritious meals is essential for maintaining good physicall and mental health. Eating a variety of healthy foods can help you feel better overall. Healthy diet is an effective antidepressant
Sleep - Getting enough sleep is essential for maintaining good mental health. Getting adequate sleep can help to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase energy levels.
3. Address stressors - Identifying and addressing stressors in men's lives can help prevent burnout and reduce risk of mental health issues. Taking about daily stressors openly can help feel men less alone and encourage them to take next steps to prevent anxiety, depression. This may involve speaking about and providing support for work-related stress, financial stress or relationship issues.
4. Provide access to resources Providing access to mental health resources, such as therapy, counselling, audiobooks or support groups, can help men better manage their mental health and prevent future issues. This may involve connecting men and boys to resources in their community or providing access to online resources and therapy.
5. Encourage social support Building social connections and support networks can help improve mental health. Encouraging men to engage in social activities, join groups, or reach out to friends and family for support can help to reduce feelings of isolation and improve mental wellbeing. Maintaining strong social connections with family, friends, and the community is an important part of overall mental wellbeing. Spending quality time with loved ones, and engaging in meaningful activities with others can help boost mood and promote positive mental health. Being in nature has also proven to be a very effective way for reducing feelings of stress, anxiety or depression.
Improving men's mental health is a continuous process that requires ongoing support and attention. Helping men to open up and talk about their feelings can be a delicate process that requires patience and empathy. By taking steps to create a supportive non judgemental home environment and providing access to resources, we can help to improve mental health outcomes for men. So remember to give your support by
Creating an environment where they feel safe and supported. This may involve finding a comfortable space to talk, active listening and ensuring that the conversation is confidential.
Validating their feelings and letting them know that it is okay to feel the way they do. Avoid dismissing or minimising their feelings, instead listen actively and provide empathy.
Asking open-ended questions can help to encourage men to talk more about their feelings. For example, "Can you tell me more about it?" or "What has been on your mind lately?"
It can take time for a man to feel comfortable opening up about his feelings. Be patient and allow him to share at his own pace.
Avoiding judgement and criticism, as this can make it more difficult for men to open up. Instead, provide support and empathy.
Provide resources, such as opportunity to rest, relax, exercise or go outside. Offer therapy or counselling, if you think he needs additional support.
Our men often ''carry the world'' on their shoulders. They do so much for us all. Most of them tries really hard to support their families. Remember to be kind. Opening up about feelings can be difficult for anyone, and it is crucial to approach the conversation with sensitivity and respect by creating a safe and supportive environment.